Pelicans Media Day Recap, Observations

Published: September 29, 2014

The Pelicans hosted their media day from 1-330 at the practice facility. This was my first Media Day, but I was accompanied by Dru, who helped guide me around, and Trew, who destroyed Luke Babbitt’s dreams of becoming a giraffe.

It was a simultaneously fun and informative experience- just about each player spent time in the interview corner with the media members, and Dell and Monty also spent time answering questions. If you’d like to read some of their quotes, you can check out the Bourbon Street Shots Twitter page, where my fat thumbs battled my iPhone keypad in a quest to capture as many quotes as I could. Dru will upload supplemental media that should do a much better job providing comprehensive coverage of the event.

Most of the quotes from the day were fairly standard, but there were a few patterns across players/staff and a few quotes that stood out to me.

  1. On the whole, the Pelicans players are extremely nice. Nothing phony about it. Friendly, though many of them are quiet.
  2. Just about every player was asked about the playoffs.. and most said the same things:
    • they want to be there
    • it’s tough in the Western Conference
    • it’s more important to focus on the immediate (training camp–> preseason –> regular season). They talked about the process of getting better and jelling.
    • ^^there was a conscious effort by both the staff/players not to perpetuate the “playoffs or bust” agenda. Dell talked about “sustained success.”
  3. Players and staff all made it a point to address injury issues last season.
  4. Monty talked about how Jrue can play off the ball on offense
  5. Jrue wouldn’t bite on what “position” Tyreke would play. When prompted, would say Tyreke is best “on the court.”
  6. Dell said Tyreke was probably working out in the Pelicans facility more than any other player
  7. Eric Gordon had a knee jerk reaction when asked about his player option and whether he’d exercise it
  8. Gordon said this is the first time in a while that he’s entering a season without significant injury issues. He said he wants to get back to being explosive and playing above the rim. He looks like he’s in very good shape
  9. Jeff Withey mentioned that he got hurt right before Summer League started.
  10. Ryan Anderson said there were times after the injury where he wasn’t sure if he’d ever play again. He said he’s blessed.
  11. Patric Young had perhaps the most informative quote of the day when he mentioned that AD does not like playing center. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it should be considered in the “Is AD a 4 or 5?” moving forward. 
  12. Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon were among the last players to go to the interview station- at a time in which a good bit of the media had already filtered out. I’m guessing this was intentionally done to avoid an overload of questions about Ryno’s injury and Gordon’s role moving forward (sixth man vs. starting, etc.)

This is an optimistic time for fan bases and teams, as most have their health and players are coming out of offseason work where they improved their games. It’s important to keep that in mind to help temper expectations for the season. With that said, I didn’t notice any player looking like he was in bad shape. Gordon looks fitter and Rivers/AD definitely look bigger.

Thoughts from Trew 2 the Game

Former ESPN NBA analyst Ric Bucher was all over the Pelicans practice facility during Media Day. He was in New Orleans serving as a media training consultant, something that the league mandates. I could tell the Pelicans were more comfortable around the cameras, reporters, and photographers.

When I first interviewed Austin Rivers in 2012, he seemed comfortable. When I interviewed him at Pelicans Media Day 2014, he was feeling it. Anthony Davis was playful (as usual) but more importantly, he was in charge. Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson were electric. Russ Smith and Patric Young held their own in the face of my “tough” questions (video coming soon), and will likely be Media Day darlings come their next contract. Such a fun team.

Ric Bucher was a nice guy who seemed to genuinely care about the team. While he wouldn’t take all of the credit for their skills on media day, it was evident the team has improved. They’ve got to do it on the court, of course, but the comfort level this team has with each other is there. They playfulness is there. The excitement is there.

The expectations are there too.


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